In anticipation of a summer of sport, with Olympics, UEFA Euro, Tour de France and Wimbledon competitions capturing the world’s attention, new research from Robert Half, the worldwide leader in specialised recruitment suggests that elite coaching may not be permeating the workplace. According to a survey of 500 office workers in the United Kingdom, nearly three-quarters (73%) say that career coaching helps improve their job performance, yet less than half (47%) feel that their manager is an effective career coach. Other cited benefits of career coaching includes improved motivation at work (53%) and increased overall job satisfaction (86%).

The career coaching gap is highlighted by the fact that nearly four in 10 (37%) employees say that they never get career coaching from their boss, while 18% only get it once a year. Knowledge and expertise as well as mutual trust and respect are the top attributes for a career coach, according to survey participants.

Phil Sheridan, Managing Director, Robert Half UK said: “The importance of having a career coach is not only to keep employees motivated but also to improve productivity, allowing organisations to pursue growth strategies, drive revenue generation and compete on an increasingly global stage. As departments continue to be tasked to do more with less, companies embracing and cultivating effective leaders will not only get the most from their existing teams, but will earn the reputation as a great place to work, helping their attraction and retention strategies.

“There are numerous sporting metaphors that can be applied in the workplace, from visualising performance to inspiring success. Robert Half recently welcomed sporting legends Sally Gunnell and James Cracknell to share their stories in client events in London, Bristol and Birmingham.”

Sally Gunnell, OBE, Olympic Gold Medallist said: “My coach played a pivotal role in my development as an athlete throughout my career, cultivating the drive, determinism and passion required to excel in the world of athletics. Workplace managers can have the same impact on their teams – providing the guidance and nurturing required to help employees aspire to greatness throughout their careers.”
Definitive coach

Their take-charge personality and commercial thinking makes them natural leaders. Highly competitive and results focused, they play to win, and want their employees to do the same. They are excellent at setting objectives and raise the bar high.

Collaborative coach

A generous coach with excellent listening skills, they are more than willing to “take one for the team”, and spend a great deal of time working to develop those around them. They have a deep understanding of team dynamics and are good at fostering cooperation among diverse groups.

Persuader coach

As “ideas people,” they have creativity to spare and are always willing to help their team brainstorm the next big idea or solution to a problem. They encourage their employees to think outside of the usual parameters, and can easily adapt to change.

Diagnostic coach

They run their department like a well-oiled machine: organisation and careful planning are the hallmarks of their coaching style, and employees know what to expect each day. They encourage their team to update their skills and use critical thinking to create solid business strategies; this comes from their natural problem-solving abilities.

Robert Half outlines the following steps for team leaders who want to improve their coaching success:

  • Understand that coaching is part of your responsibilities as a senior professional and make time within your busy working day to communicate with your team.
  • Work through the quiz to find out which coaching type you are and map your attributes onto the personalities of your team: who will respond best to which of your qualities?
  • Accept that you may need to amend some of your behaviours to meet individual needs
  • Recognise that coaching is about ‘showing’ not just ‘telling’: it’s all about being an effective role model
  • Look for inspiration from the resources available to you: your boss or your HR professional will be happy to help